‘I think any artist who is able to produce a great body of work by the time they’re twenty-three is a phenomenon. She was a genius. She was a woman. And her work seems to owe nothing to anybody else.’ (Anthony d’Offay)
Francesca Woodman was born in Denver, Colarado in 1958 but lived most of her brief life in New York. She took her first photograph at thirteen, and committed suicide in 1981 at the age of twenty-two. However, in the few years before this she had created a powerful body of photographic work that continues to influence artists today.
Woodman’s silver gelatin prints explore gender and self but are not portraits in the traditional sense. In typically empty, flaking interiors she is most often seen half-hidden or obscured by slow exposures that blur her figure into a surreal, ghostly presence. Both intense and unsettling, her images provoke a sense of underlying fragility, a feature heightened by their intimate scale. The eighteen works that were acquired by Anthony D’Offay and are now held in ARTIST ROOMS once belonged to Woodman’s boyfriend and a number were inscribed to him with personal messages by the artist.
Ferens Art Gallery